Friday, April 25, 2008

Chastened and Loved

There has been much happening in my heart and life as this new year keeps barrelling along. As last year drew to a close and this one began, I had a sense of anticipation that I don't usually feel on Dec. 31st. This new year was going to be "THE YEAR." Oh, as I type it out and put it out there it seems so dramatic....but that's not really how I feel it or mean it. Words are failing me right now....I just sensed keenly that God was going to do a "new thing."

Sometimes God's doing a "new thing" begins with working on us, refining us, training us. While these times aren't usually what one would consider grand times of fun and excitement, there really is joy in the process. For me, that joy comes from knowing that when I truly sense GOD HIMSELF is the one chastening and correcting....I know that I am really His child! To me, it means He is real. To me, it means He has shown up in my life. No, it's not fun....but it's makes me feel legitimate! Does that make any sense?! LOL!

Let me put it another way. And this is rather difficult territory for me wander into. I spent most of my life in circles where people readily testify and share what's going on in their personal lives, spiritual and otherwise. I have done it many times myself! And I in no way mean to reflect negatively on that. I cherish many of those times of sharing in Chapel, etc. But one of the downsides to it, is that sometimes you hear people testify to things, mighty works and deeds done on their behalf, deliverance's from various trials, direct Divine guidance, etcetera....and without knowing or even realizing it, seeds of doubt can be planted as to "what's wrong with me?"
I've never doubted God's existence. I've never doubted God's omnipotence. I've never doubted God's love. But believe me, as I moved out from the sacred halls of learning and spiritual protection and 24 hour a day 'covering'....I had to know that God was real to ME. And I had to figure out what that meant in my expectations of myself and of God. I'm still coming to terms with having "proper" expectations about God. I think I've spent a good many years keeping them low, so as not to be disappointed. Isn't that a sad confession? God is working in me to change that.

There have been very specific and limited times in my life where I have faced a crisis of Faith, both of the very negative nature and of the very positive nature. One kind that left me floundering, and one kind that left me filled with Hope and confidence. Admittedly, as I look back, I took way too long to learn some of the lessons God was trying to teach me.

Becoming a parent has also put on a new twist on how I see nearly every issue....especially those pertaining to "God and Spiritual things." (as the old tract would put it!) Just one of the ways that this happens, is that I see so clearly the relationship of God/Us in the light of Parent/Child.
Example: a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Reagan was clenching something in his little hand. I walked over to him and pried his hand open. In it was a little piece of Sophie's hair barrette...broken. Worthless. Useless. BROKEN! But when I took it from him (mostly because in my motherly "omniscience" I knew he could/would choke on it), he began to cry and howl as though the world had come to an end. He ran after me, hand outstretched...pleading for that little broken piece of nothing, when I had a whole corner full of wonderful toys for him to play with!!!! Something about the scene stopped me dead in my tracks. I knew I was smack in the middle of a teachable moment: for myself and for my children. So I called all 3 of the older kids over...showed them the broken barrette....showed them the screaming toddler at my feet. My voice was actually breaking a bit as I asked them, " I wonder if God ever feels this way?" When He KNOWS that something is not good for us, and we demand it anyway, and look at Him as though He is cruel and with-holding good things from us. I wonder if His Father-heart breaks the way mine was in that moment as my little boy felt betrayed by me. Something makes me suspect strongly that that is exactly how God feels when He looks down at me...at us....struggling so ridiculously to hold on to that which is broken and useless.

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to share these thoughts this morning. It is a very personal look at where I am in my own walk right now. But I am filled with peace and joy at the knowledge that God is indeed "showing up" in my life and He's leading me through steps that are increasing my faith. Granted, sometimes I am so puzzled by the means and methods He chooses to accomplish this purpose, but "God is God. And I am NOT. I can only see a part of the picture He's painting. God is God, and I am man. So I'll never understand it all. For only God is God." words by Stephen Curtis Chapman.

13 comments:

Derek Hickman said...

ditto

Kimberly said...

I loved hearing your heart, Tara...and what you are learning. And what a beautiful picture of life in your home. I will ponder what I am "holding onto" and what needs to be released...

Toots said...

Good thoughts, Tara. Thanks for sharing them.

Charity said...

Very good, Tara. It seems each phase of life is meant? to show us a new facet of God's nature. One of my favorite verses is: "Teach us to number our days, that we may present you with a heart of wisdom." (Ps. 90:12) You did a great job grabbing that teachable moment~ inspiring!

Charity said...

By the way, that piano is exactly the kind I've always dreamed of owning. I LOVE that color of grand. Nathan wants to know how much ;o) ~ but you can e-mail that to him privately...

Sonja said...

Thanks for sharing your heart. What a good reminder! I appreciate your transparency so much.

Also, a big congrats on the piano. So very beautiful, and I'm sure you all will put it to good use!

Anita said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, Tara. I especially benefited from the analogy of your child clinging to the broken nothing. Soooo applicable to my very present circumstances.

Crystal said...

Tara, I'm so glad you are so willing to share how you are feeling. You have such good thoughts! The piano is beautiful:) I know you all will enjoy it! Tell your little guy Happy Birthday. I know that it is a little late:( Hope he had a good one! Love ya, Crystal

Kim M. said...

I LOVE what you said about the baby. It applies to me too in so many areas. Can I copy that story and put a link underneath it to your blog? I think it could be a blessing/help to a lot of people!

Tara said...

Thank you all for your kind words. Sometimes it's just cathartic to spell out the things we're learning....solidifies them in our lives. Your encouragement is always a blessing!

And, Kim, if I ever have anything that you feel is useful, please feel free to share. I am honored.

Kim M. said...

Thank you so much!

Kelly S said...

What a lesson! Thanks for sharing.

Love the piano! Beautiful! I almost went with that color, but after shopping decided on Ebony. It is definitely an heirloom worth investing in!

jenny said...

Really great story, Tara...inspiring to all mothers (but this mama in particular) to weave God's truth into our everyday happenings.

I, too, love your piano!!! So happy for you all.